Friday, March 25, 2011

The Yoga of Voting

I know lots of you awesome readers aren't Canadian, but for those who are I'm sure you've heard... 'Countdown to Election' happening in May.

As an artsy fartsy yogini I find politics *yawn* so incredibly boring and at the same time terrifyingly frustrating. To the point that although I strongly believe this is an important post... I kinda didn't want to write it. BLEGH politics.

The most interesting conversation I've ever listened to was how despite the common belief that 'young' people (generation x-y-ers) don't vote because they aren't interested- in fact they are; they just don't believe the political machine is the way to make a difference. Instead of voting we invest energy, time and money in NGO's and grass roots community organizations, charities and volunteering projects. I can relate to that. It's not that I don't care; it's that government just seems so broken and overwhelming.

After some thought and calm contemplation I had to be honest with myself... the best way to make a significant difference for our planet will come from large governmental policy changes. Last week on St Patrick's Day we went to see Dr. William Rees, the leading Canadian researcher on carbon footprint. It was beyond interesting, scary and a thought provoking lecture. The big message? We need to make a cultural and social shift that is supported by government.

How do we do that? We vote. We write letters. We protest.

The past year or so I've taken some time to meditate past my frustrations, my sense of despair on my little voice ever being heard and have decided that the government will only reflect ME if I demand it to.

So, as boring and frustrating as it may seem- please add voting to your toolbox labeled 'Essentials for Saving My Planet' alongside decreasing plastic, walking to yoga practice and shopping local.

Canadian political parties: information link! (Check out the Rhino and Pirate Parties! Hah!).
article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. A while ago I read a totally unrelated article in The Onion -,2892/ - about 30 million people thinking that throwing away 1 plastic bottle won't make a difference. I can't help but draw parallels with voting. Besides the ovious fact that more people should vote, I believe more people should vote for a party that reflects their own core values. That could mean voting for the environment (Green Party) or voting for copyright and patent reform (Pirate Party). What if everyone starting voting for who they believed in instead of thinking a vote for an alternative party is wasted? Vote for who you want to win, not who you think will win.

  2. I think all that investment in NGOs and grassroots efforts is essential. Governments really only offer the kinds of changes you're talking about when a)enough "average" people have actually attempted to create it on small scales and/or b)enough of those same people have pressured the crap out of said government. Otherwise, it's almost always the monied interests that win out on policy.

    Voting is an important tool to some degree, but people overemphasize it's effect and potential. Getting Obama and Democrats elected in 2006, 2008 here in the U.S. did little to change what's going on here. And yet, millions of people stepped away from their grassroots efforts to get these people elected. Personally, I feel this was a great waste. Anti-war, environmental, and other major movements stall, and don't often recover from the people drains that occur during election seasons.

    So, I really think it's more intelligent to do things in your own life, and to be involved in something collectively in your community - and recognize that at certain points, it will become a necessity to press for government policy change.

    However, too often it's all backwards - electoral politics trumps everything, and governments slide further and further to the right. The rightward creep has been going on in the U.S. for at least 35 years. In Canada, at least a good two decades. In half of Europe, a good two decades as well.

    Major social change almost always happens outside of government power structures, but tends to need some official endorsement in order to penetrate the broader masses who haven't already shifted.

  3. I completely agree with Andrew! Go Green Party!!! I also agree with Nathan. We need to keep supporting the grassroots efforts out there to make the changes on the ground and build momentum that causes the politicians (and other voters!) to pay attention and really make a change.

    PS. I joined KIVA last month and am so happy about it! Thanks Andrew for the inspiration.

  4. The spirit of this is very moving, I hope others will be inspired.

    I gave you one of my weekly Goddess Awards which you can collect anytime if you like.

    Be well,

  5. You're absolutely right. But also voting does make a difference. Look at all the races where one person was elected by only a few votes--and I do mean a few. It takes all of us doing a lot of things to make a difference.

    Well done post.


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